Josh Groban and H.E.R. performed a moving version of “Beauty and the Beast” at the 30th anniversary celebration for the classic Disney animated film. When two such huge vocal talents hit the stage together, you know something special is going to happen, and the dynamic duo didn’t disappoint on the main theme.
H.E.R., who played Belle throughout the ABC anniversary special, sounded like a real Disney princess as she opened the song with a delicate verse. Groban, meanwhile, played The Beast, and we all know he’s an impressive force on the mic as well. The classical crossover megastar’s smooth tenor was a natural foil for H.E.R.’s vocals and their voices complemented each other superbly.
H.E.R. wasn’t content with just laying down the lead vocals. She also dropped in a showstopping electric guitar solo on the bridge, looking quite the rock goddess with a transparent Strat, while wearing a full ball gown. She even managed to walk down a tall flight of stairs while playing the solo and kept her balance the whole time, which might have been the most impressive feat of the night.
In addition to the star vocal talent, ABC went all out on the production for the event and the two lead vocalists were attended by a dozen ballroom dancers as well as cast members dressed in formal period costumes. Another popular song from the 30th-anniversary event was Martin Short and Shania Twain’s comedic number “Be Our Guest”, with Short really shining as Lumière, the aristocratic French candelabra.
Fans online had plenty of praise for H.E.R. and Josh Groban’s duet, adding comments such as “What I love about this performance is that H.E.R and Josh don’t overpower each other; it’s a duet, not a contest. Not to mention their voices blend wonderfully together” and “It’s about time Josh Groban was a Disney prince. He can charm the fish right out of the sea with his voice.”
Both Groban and H.E.R. actually have a history with Disney. Groban sang “Evermore” for the end credits of the 2017 Disney live action film Beauty and the Beast. H.E.R.’s connection to Disney goes a lot further back, as at the age of 12 she competed on Radio Disney’s The Next Big Thing with her song “My Music”.
Groban knows a thing or two about playing beastly characters, as the year after his appearance at the 30th anniversary special, he played the titular villain Sweeney Todd in Stephen Sondheim’s famous musical. While talking to Yahoo News, Groban reflected on the connection between the two characters, saying “The thing that makes the Beast’s character interesting is almost a reverse of the same thing that makes Sweeney Todd and Benjamin Barker interesting. You’re dealing with the duality of a monster and a man, and what creates that? What do we see in each character that we see in ourselves?” Groban further mused that “With both characters, it’s far more interesting to connect with the human being inside instead of the brute force, broad strokes monster.”
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